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First Autumn/Winter at the allotment

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  • First Autumn/Winter at the allotment

    Having taken on my allotment around this time last year, this is my first proper winter & autumn on the allotment.

    I am able to get a large amount of manure free from the councillor who runs the allotments as he farms nearby so lucky in that regard - should I manure all plots this time around? I did a couple early this year after they were clear where my pumpkins & courgettes went

    Secondly - weeds...they seem to be sprouting up still on some of my beds, should I dig the beds thoroughly over now, removing all the weeds or leave it till early next year? and to get rid of the weeds could I spray them now and then dig over the beds or spray them next year? Or is it best not too at all!?!

    Sorry for all the questions - writing as I think! But would really appreciate your wisdom on this - had a few fails and learnt an awful lot of lessons this year so the less mistakes I make this year the better!

    thanks all

  • #2
    Remember that you use compost rather than manure on beds that you will grow roots like carrots in, otherwise manure is fine to go on now. If it's a large area you could use a hoe on the weeds, they are best out. I don't spray weed killer on ground I intend to grow edibles in, you don't want to be eating weed killer.
    If I'm not on here, I'm probably fishing.

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    • #3
      I took my plot on last December and soldiered on through all the weeds in the rain and hail stones.
      I got a very good crop of squashes in a clay walled raised bed. The clay was too wet to get all the couch grass roots out so I cut it into blocks and faced the root side outwards. All the couch grass roots I did separate went into the bottom of the bed. I added a very thick layer of hot rotting horse manure and the contents of the shed latrine.
      I planted the squashes in a thin layer of top soil over the pickelling couch grass roots. The bottom heat saved the squashes from the late frost and they took off once the weather warmed up.
      I got about 30 squashes and plenty of runner beans and some tomatoes an a few other things.

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      • #4
        I would only consider spraying if you have a lot of couch grass, bind weed, horse tail or ground elder (and even then horse tail needs a good bruising before you spray it, or else it won't take up the weedkiller), and you need to use a gyphosate-based weedkiller, as nothing else on the market will kill those weeds.
        Any other weeds can be fairly easily dug out, and indeed most annual weeds can just be dug in.
        If you do decide to spray, it will need to be done in the spring now. It is now too late to spray this year - you need to spray them whilst in active growth so that the herbicide is transported back to the roots and kills those, too.

        As for digging, if the ground is not yet too wet to dig then I would say give it a good going over now to remove as much as you can, then if you see more stuff sprouting next spring you can always give it another quick once over then.

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        • #5
          Is the manure fresh or rotted? If it is fresh you could use it to make a hotbed - best done around Jan/Feb to grow early salads. I grow lettuce, spinach and beetroot in mine and then use it for summer crops like tomatoes, courgettes and melons later.

          My allotment was/is infested with horsetail, which I try to dig out when I see it. I've succeeded in some areas but not others. It is very, very noticeable that where I have been digging there are many more annual weeds growing, whereas where I have not dug there are few. I always remove weeds before they seed (1 year's seed is 10 year's weed). So my advice would be to dig only if you have perennial weeds that you can't pull out. To reduce the area to a manageable amount at first, try covering some of it with weed matting, thick cardboard or a tarpaulin - as long as it is dark the weeds will not grow, or if they do they will be weak. I would avoid spraying if you possibly can.
          Last edited by Penellype; 26-10-2020, 09:29 AM.
          A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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          • #6
            My plot neighbor sprayed his path and it killed all the weeds that are easy to pull out and left the bind weed and couch grass.
            I took one bed out of cultivation for the year due to it being infested with bind weed. The pile of sun dried roots has now been added to a big load of other weed roots ready to be cooked under a hot bed. This method worked with all the couch grass I dug up back in January.

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            • #7
              Thanks all, appreciate the advice. I have a couple of fairly bad areas and paths so I think I'll spray them in the spring - I'm afraid I don't mind spraying glyphosate as it seems to be the best way to clear stubborn weeds and worked very well on the overgrown stuff although I will hold back now it's nearly there.

              The manure is pretty ripe...I couldn't say how old exactly but not that rotted down, I think I worked well for me this year though so keen to get it on this year too. Thanks again all

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